pain The Wellcome TrustdfgICA

Documentary films
on pain

Film screenings at the ICA

Pain: Documentaries and discussion

What is the relationship between watching images on screen in a public cinema and understanding pain - the most personal, internal and hardest sensations to convey? The answer will become clear over this three-part documentary and discussion series on pain screened at the ICA cinema during March, April and May 2004.

The series is divided into three strands - 'Reclaiming the body from pain', 'Pain, loss and trauma', and 'Conveying and representing pain' - each of which offers a different way of considering and dealing with pain. The filmmakers and subjects of the films offer startling and constructive ways of reacting to pain, whether it's their own or another's pain, or a physical or mental reaction. The screening of each documentary film will be followed by a panel discussion among representatives from diverse fields. Voices from medicine, art, filmmaking, psychology, culture, philosophy and, of course, the audience will all be heard.

For more information visit the Documentary Filmmakers Group at

The series was organized in collaboration with the Documentary Filmmakers Group and the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London

Booking details
Tickets for each film screening cost 7.50
6.50 concessions
5.50 ICA and DFG members

ICA ticket box office: 020 7930 3647 (open 12.00 - 21.30)
Textphone: 020 7839 0737
E-mail: (allow 24 hours for processing)
Post: Send a cheque made payable to 'ICA Ltd' or your credit card details with a SAE to: Ticket Office, ICA, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH. Please add 50p for processing.

Film screenings:

>   Reclaiming the body from pain

>   Pain, loss and trauma

>   Conveying and representing pain

Thursday 11 March 2004
'Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist'
86 mins, 1997, USA, Director: Kirby Dick

Flanagan, born with cystic fibrosis, carved his niche by fighting back against medical constraints, against sexual and social convention, and against pain. Kirby Dick's respectful, explicit film about the last years of this artist and pioneer is followed by a panel discussion on 'Reclaiming the body from pain'.


Professor Tony Dickenson
Professor of Neuropharmacology, University College London

Dr Simon Glendinning
Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Reading

Steve Dwoskin
Artist and Filmmaker

Still image from 'Sick'

Tuesday 6 April 2004
'Long Gone'
90 mins, 2003, USA, Director: David Eberhardt, Jack Cahill.
Original music by Tom Waits

The directors spent seven years riding the rails through epic American landscapes to make this up-close picture of a community united by their sense of exclusion from the mainstream. Vietnam vets, middle-class students and long-term alcoholics are brought together by locomotive wanderlust, by physical hardship and by their ways of dealing with mental and emotional pain.


Dr Caroline Bainbridge

Senior Lecturer, Psychosocial Studies, University of East London

Andrew Cross
Beck's Futures-nominated artist and photographer, author of
'Some Trains in America' (2002)

Dr James Thompson
Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University College London

Still image from 'Long gone'

Wednesday 5 May 2004
'Dying to Tell the Story'
95 mins, 1998, USA, Director: Kyra Thompson

The documentary follows Amy Eldon as she investigates the death and the life of her brother Dan, who was a young photojournalist when he was killed in Somalia.

Retracing Dan’s steps through war zones and through the landscape of their youth, and interviewing figures including Christiane Amanpour and Don McCullin, Amy investigates what drives people to make images of pain and suffering, and what the damage is that can be inflicted.


Professor Dinesh Bhugra
Dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists

Luke Holland
Filmmaker whose work includes ‘More Than a Life’ (2002)

Dianne Nelmes
Director of Daytime and Regional, Granada TV, and former journalist


Still image from 'Dying to Tell the Story'